Wainwright is 0-3 in his first three starts this season. Hitters are batting .310 against him - an 86 point jump from the guy that he was in that brilliant 2010 season. He has only pitched 6% of the innings he pitched in that season, but is already one-third of the way to his home run total allowed in that season. Those numbers paint a very ugly picture, but I'd be much more inclined to buy low than to sell low. Wainwright will right the ship.
We can manipulate the numbers in other ways. Wainwright has 14 strikeouts in 13.2 innings. That's a very solid rate and is actually a little better than the two prior seasons (8.32 K/9 and 8.19 K/9 respectively). He also is not walking very many hitters relative to the strikeouts. His 3.50 K:BB is rate in the middle of where it was in 2009 and 2010. As far as when the ball is put in play, his line drives are up a touch while the ground balls are down just a touch. That explains the increased batting average a little, but keep it all in perspective. This is a very small sample size from a player that can still be classified as rusty. Looking at some of the other recent Tommy John success stories, we have given them fair time to get back to their craft. Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg had the opportunity to pitch in September of 2010 and 2011. Joe Nathan last season lost the closing job after tripping out of the gates last year before getting things back together.
My best advice is to make an offer for Wainwright if you don't own him. I would trade Gio Gonzalez, Yu Darvish, Matt Garza, and Mat Latos one-for-one without any hesitation. Here are some more notes to consider:
- To borrow a phrase from Bob Ueker, Curtis Granderson makes the women in Boston puke. To borrow a phrase from John Sterling, The Grandyman can. 5 for 5, three home runs. Certainly the line so far in 2012, and it may hold up that way too.
- Albert Pujols hit the wall yesterday, but still doesn't have a home run in 54 at-bats this season.
- Giancarlo Stanton also hasn't homered in his first 46 at-bats for the Marlins, but he isn't going to panic.
- Mike Minor struck out 9 without walking any yesterday. His WHIP through 3 starts is 0.89. Kirk Gibson said he's about as good as the Diamondbacks have seen this year.
- Freddie Freeman is looking like a top 60 player right now. He hit two home runs yesterday pulling one and going the other way with the other. He has 10 RBI in his last 3 games.
- After two days off, Paul Goldschmidt was back in the lineup for the Diamondbacks yesterday. Kirk Gibson says he always has viewed him as the team's permanent first baseman. Gibson thinks Goldschmidt is thinking too much about mechanics and not letting his natural instincts and ability take over.
- Ryan Howard is set to see a specialist today and could get word that he can begin participating in baseball activities.
- Mike Trout is experiencing baseball at Triple-A for the first time in his career. Through 15 games he is hitting .383. Jerry Dipoto isn't going to rush the 20-year-old. "When we get to the point where we feel like there’s an everyday position for him to impact the club, that’s when he’ll be here." Given what's happening right now with Brandon Belt, this is a good idea, but by my estimation he would impact the club more than Vernon Wells right now.
- The Rays claimed Brandon Allen off waivers.
- Matt Moore goes tonight for the Rays. As Fangraphs points out, Moore has the highest xFIP, the fourth lowest groundball rate, and the fifth highest walk rate in baseball right now. This game isn't easy. This will be his first start ever at the Trop.